Here’s a fun idea I read online a while back and want to try before the end of summer. Play water limbo!
Have kids play limbo in the backyard, under a stream of water! It sounds like a marvelous way to get cool on a hot summer day.
They also suggested playing Water Hurdle, where you leap over the stream of water and raise it higher and higher. Either way, it sounds like a hoot.
Two year-old Alex is very into Shaun the Sheep lately, and all of us love him (and the whole Wallace and Grommit series) too. Daryl has found some neat sheep-related stuff online to keep him happy and I thought you might like it too!
Make your own sheep music…
Shaun the Sheep bleatbox….
And click on the related links there for Shaun crafts and clips and more.
Sounds like a baaaaaaall!
I’ve been doing this puzzle of Northern Africa and Middle East countries for a couple of days now when I have a spare minute and want to unwind online. I was rather shocked at how little I knew about the geography of those regions! Eek! I didn’t even know a couple of them were countries! I’m pleased to say that I now pretty much have it down pat where Turkey and Turkmenistan are in relation to each other, and where almost every other country that ends in "stan" goes (and there are a lot!). How well can you do?
Looking for something fun to do today? Here’s 10 ways to have fun with a balloon or two!
1. Run a length of crepe paper, garland or even toilet paper across the room and play volleyball.
2. Give each child a balloon to blow up and let go. Have races to see which ones shoot higher or zoom faster.
3. Make balloon volcanos.
4. Write easy chores on slips of paper and slip them into balloons. Blow them up and tie them off, and then fill more balloons with an equal number of fun treats. Let kids pop the balloons and perform the jobs inside — bad or good — and keep going as long as they choose.
5. Work as a team to see how long you can bop a balloon and keep it from touching the floor.
6. Use a balloon for the mold for a papier mache jack-o-lantern.
7. Entertain little ones by blowing up balloons, pinching the ends and releasing the air to make silly noises. This will make every adult in earshot crazy, but very small people will laugh and laugh.
8. Make balloon fidgets. These are wonderful to sit and squeeze when you have the wiggles! They’re also fun to just toss and catch!
9. Make balloon paddles and have the kids try to keep the balloons from touching the floor.
10. Make chocolate balloon cups. And then invite me over.
(Do make sure to be extra careful with little ones around balloons.
I think that goes without saying, right?)
I love this whimsical little idea! Print out the cardboard bunnies and cabbages, add a marble to make each bunny roll, and bowl! The Toymaker offers the printout and TONS more wonderful stuff. What fun!
It’s back to school time, and the time of the year when parents are most prone to worrying about what their kids can and cannot do. If reading is a skill on your child’s horizon (or just a fairly new skill), here’s some fun ways to help make it easier.
- Cut some paper into strips and write a letter on each one. Put a piece of tape or a sticker on top of each and ask your child to stick them to things that start with that letter. You may want to save tricky letters like Q or X for later!
- Dictate lists and letters. Put your child in charge of writing up the grocery list or making up a wish list. Help her write a letter to Grandma or a thank you note. You can even help her write down her songs, dreams, stories or poems. Don’t worry about over-correcting backwards letters or crazy lines. Right now, the goal is to make it something she loves to do. Provide fun, colorful pens and paper to make it even more enticing.
- Play letter toss. Draw a large chalk grid (of anywhere from 9 to 20 squares) on the driveway or basement floor. Write a common letter in each square. Find a bean bag or make one by filling a child’s sock with dried rice or beans and tying it. Now take turns tossing the bean bag onto the grid and saying the letter name, the sound it makes and a word that starts with it. Make it trickier by saying a word that ends with the letter if you want to make it harder.
- Go on a scavenger hunt like this and fill your list with lots of letters and easy words.
- Read Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. Lots. This was the single best book for all of my kids to learn to read. Dr. Seuss did such a great job of showing how letters work with this fun book. The words are large and change just a little bit, easily showing children how letters make up words in a totally funny way.
- Play rhyming games. Rhymes help children form mental connections that help them read. Take turns making up sets of rhymes while you’re in the car, make up silly poems together and so on.
- Make alphabet books and use them for games together.
- Play this game, courtesy of Magical Mama Tiffany: Here’s something fun we did here. We called it "treasure hunt." I hid a piece of candy under a hat. I used stickers with short words written on them as clues. I would put the wrong sticker on the item, eg, a CUP might have the word MAP on it. She had to read the word, find the correct place to stick the sticker. On that item would be another sticker etc. etc. She followed the "clues" until finding the HAT with the candy under it!! It was great fun and she had no idea she was reading!!! She keeps begging to do it again!!!!!
- Read, read, read together. Take time sometimes to trace words as you read them but don’t get caught up in teaching and take the fun out of reading. Books should be a fabulous treat, a source of fun and together time and neat stuff. Keep it fun and every book you read together will help make it easier for him to learn to do it on his own.
- Be patient. Children develop their skills on their own timetables. Little ones learn to walk, talk, potty train, ride a bike, read and all of the other milestones at their own unique times and it has no bearing on how well they eventually do these things. Trying to teach a child anything before he’s ready just frustrates everybody and takes the joy out of something inherently joyful. Believe in your child and make it easier for him. In the meantime, model the joy of reading and just have fun!
Here’s a totally silly way to occupy small children online! The Animal Splicer 1.0 allows you to cross cartoon animals in its magical machine to make brand new creatures. Alex is crazy about the Manke (monkey snake) but I personally love the Octobunny. The Frobster is adorable too, while the Wartopus is just plain odd. Next time you have a bored or cranky little person (or a bored or cranky big person!), give it a try!
Family Fun has compiled 101 games for kids to play in the summer time. Here’s July’s page! Have fun!
We’re off to Grandma & Grandpa’s for some 4th of July fun. Sorry I spaced out on wishing the Canadian mamas a happy Canada Day earlier this week. For those in the states…
Happy Independence Day!
Stuck in a car together and looking for ways to keep the kids happy? Whether you’re headed cross country or are just looking for ways to make a trip the grocery store more fun, here’s some activities and ideas that work for us. Some of these also workgreat IN the grocery store to keep the kids happy too!
- Play alphabet games. For instance there’s the biography one where you go through the alphabet making up identities to match each letter: "A my name is Anna, I’m from Arkansas and I like arguing…".
- Get books on tape. Your library carries oodles of these, from storybooks read aloud to little song and rhyme collections. They’re fantastic.
- Silly counting: Daryl dreamed this one up. Have your child slowly count. As she is counting, start asking questions to get funny answers. For instance… 1, 2, 3, "How many noses do you have?" …4 "You have 4 noses?!" 5, 6… "How old is your mother?" 7… "7 years old? Wow she’s young!" 8, 9, 10… "How many cats can you fit in your mouth?" 10…. This makes little ones howl with laughter if you do it silly enough.
- Play children’s music. Victoria says it’s important that children sing it too. No matter how cool adults are, she always prefers to sing along with other kids.
- If you’re brave enough, give them washable window markers (Crayola makes some) and a wet wipe, and let them decorate their windows as they ride. Truth be told, we use regular washable markers on windows too.
- Bring a ziplock bag of colorform shapes. These are the little peel and stick people, pets, shapes, etc. They cling to windows so kids can create scene after scene.
- Lend the kids a digital camera and ask them to take pictures as you go. This is a huge treat for our kids during trips and some of the photos have been really wonderful.
- Balance things on your head. Give the kids something like a beanie baby to balance on their heads and challenge them to see how long they can hold it there. Our girls sat for an amazing amount of time quietly concentrating on doing this.
- Put older kids in charge of keeping "the log." We’ve had this tradition on trips since before we had children. We keep track of times, mileage, sights seen, weather, stops, you name it. The goofy entries make us laugh years later. Each night, read the day’s log together.
- Make up a treasure hunt list. Write down 20 things to seeon the trip and have the child cross them out as he spots them. Younger kids can do this with picture lists. Examples of things to list– tractor, semi truck, billboard with a person on it, motorcycle, green house, dog, deer crossing sign, mailbox…
- Bring paper and crayons so the kids can do art. A cookie sheet makes a good lap tray since crayons can’t roll off.
- Print out activity pages from online and keep them in a folder just for car trips.
- Bring the magna doodle
- Sing songs together.
- Play "would you rather." This game occupied a car full of kids ages 4 to 14 for hours in Maine a couple of years ago. Ask the kids to make choices like would you rather take a trip to the moon or the bottom of the ocean, never eat ice cream again or never have chocolate, live in a zoo or a shopping mall, be a surgeon or a painter…
This site has printable bingo cards, games, coloring pages, you name it:
And this site goes with the book Carschooling. You can sign up for a newsletter, mailing lists, etc.
What are your favorite ways to stay busy in car rides?
I’m not sure if this will really get kids to brush more often (or better) but the Whack a Molar game is silly fun even if it doesn’t reduce cavities. Very silly and a little creepy! My high score was 20 molars. How high can you go?!
If you want to continue the theme, here’s a whole slew of dental games, printouts and activities for kids of all ages to help them take care of their pearly whites.